The New York Times Company CEO, Janet Robinson has confirmed the high likelihood of a pay wall of some sort being erected on the New York Times website. In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Robinson said that "qualitative and quantitative research" is currently being conducted on how much readers will be prepared to pay for access to the paper's online content.
A definite model has still yet to be chosen, yet Robinson said that the publishers were investigating either a meter model or the Times Club Membership, which would give access to premium content. More details are set to follow in the Autumn.
Statistics evidence that the publishers needs to pursue a different approach to revenue if the paper is to haul itself out of its current financial slump. Times Co. has revealed that in the second quarter, its total operating profit dropped from 42.2 percent to $23.3 million from $40.3 million in Q208, and revenues have fallen by 21 percent to $584.5 million from $741.9 million.
The levels of Internet revenue are of ever increasing importance for the company, as it increases its efforts in developing its online services. The Times Co. figures show that Internet revenue now counts for 13.4% of total company revenue, which was a lesser 12.3% a year ago. Reportedly, the Internet share of advertising revenue has increased to 21% from around 18% last year. However, the company's total internet revenues slipped 14.3 percent to $78.2 million, as online advertising dollars dropped 15.5 percent to $68 million.
A press release said that the company expects that "the advertising environment to continue to be challenging". Additionally, concern is now "focused on developing innovative new products and platforms based on our high-quality journalism, particularly in the digital area, and continuing to aggressively lower our cost base to better align it with our revenues."
It remains to be seen, therefore, if the erection of a pay wall of some sort will provide a sufficient compensation for the financial sufferings inflicted by the downturn in online advertising.